Julia Mulders, a third year BA (Hons) Interior Architecture and Design student wins a Gold Award at Creative Conscience and is invited to undertake an internship at Thomas Hetherwick studios in London.

Rural areas in Zambia are greatly affected by malnutrition and most remote village communities find themselves kilometers away from the nearest healthcare facility. I have explored the design of a permanent nutrition-focused clinic, from which existing NGO staff can carry out both educational and medical services. Pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children aged 6–23 months fall into what is known as the ‘1000-day period’, the most fundamental stage for the correct nutrition.

Participatory architecture and local materials form the basis of this creative and positive solution, inspired by the leaf of the Moringa plant, designed to be replicated in-between village communities that suffer from the same problem.

Speaking about her project, Julia said:

“I believe relevant design is not superfluous in any way; it has a defined purpose, one that is functional and creates better lifestyles in the process”.

Julia was subsequently offered an internship at Thomas Hetherwick studios in London.  When we caught up with Julia to find out about the experience she told us:

“At the end of my third year, I was lucky enough to win a gold at the Creative Conscience Awards in July 2017 for my project on the alleviation of malnutrition in rural Zambia. The awards particularly try to put new graduates in touch with established designers to kick-start their career. In my case I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity to undertake a week internship at Heatherwick Studio in London. I was completely taken by surprise at the chance to have a ‘look behind the scenes’ at this prestigious design studio. As a student I often turned to the studio’s work for inspiration, very interested in his experimental approach. I was fascinated by the way in which his unique and diverse projects transformed from abstract shape, form and detail.

When I first arrived at the studio, I was nervous to say the least, however, this nervousness quickly subsided at the overwhelming friendliness of their staff. They were approachable, encouraging and always willing to help. I was given the chance to work with various members of the team both in the studio and workshop spaces – creativity emanating from the walls themselves; it was inspiring just being in the room! What really stood out for me was the importance placed on the experimental stage of the design process as well as the way in which individuals with different skills collaborate.

Although only a week, the experience has given me more of the confidence and enthusiasm I will need to carry on in the creative industry. When looking for a design solution, I will remind myself to keep an open mind, stay positive and that the impossible is possible!”

See more about Julia’s creative conscience award.